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Social policy responses to COVID-19 in Canada and the United States: Explaining policy variations between two liberal welfare state regimes
journal contributionposted on 24.11.2020, 10:45 by D Béland, S Dinan, P Rocco, A Waddan
Canada and the United States are often grouped together as liberal welfare-state regimes, with broadly similar levels of social spending. Yet, as the COVID-19 pandemic reveals, the two countries engage in highly divergent approaches to social policymaking during a massive public health emergency. Drawing on evidence from the first 5 months of the pandemic, this article compares social policy measures taken by the United States and Canadian governments in response to COVID-19. In general, we show that Canadian responses were both more rapid and comprehensive than those of the United States. This variation, we argue, can be explained by analysing the divergent political institutions, pre-existing policy legacies, and variations in cross-partisan consensus, which have all shaped national decision-making in the middle of the crisis.